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Old 02-07-2013, 09:26 AM   #17
10isfreak's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 566

Originally Posted by mikeespinmusic View Post
Warming up with these players can sometimes feel insulting because they warm up and hit properly to you with good topspin and then when its game time - they start their "strategy"
Well, at the very least they offer you something to get your rhythm going... if they were pushing during warm-ups, that would be a total lack of class and sportsmanship, but they do bother about you grooving your strokes and getting ready. Be thankful for that part.

I do understand your frustration and, unlike many people, I won't be insulting. You love your sport and probably play for the sensations you get on the court which basically makes pushing a very bothersome context since it deprives you of your main enjoyment. However, there are solutions to this problem and we can work on fixing these issues.

First things first, your overall approach to the game is not appropriate: your basic game plan is so field-specific that pretty much anyone with a decent slice can throw off your entire scheme. I am certain that you rally with division 2 and perhaps even division 1 players without the slightest issue, so long as we're talking coast-to-coast tennis. Many of the players you face see you hitting when you warm-up and if they're just half as good as you pretend, they're good enough to spot your preferences and tendencies: you love to hit spin, you love to take and smack high balls... but you hate your net game and it's a very rough approximation of what you could normally do.

What do you think they quickly get? As they hit in the first few minutes, they'll try lower balls, softer strokes or angles to see where is your major flaw and it happens that moving forward is your nightmare. Without effort, a good player would slice, move you around and expel some energy only to end the point. If you want to avoid this situation from occurring all the time, you need to learn how to play a good transition game and how to use certain strokes to force them into YOUR game instead of being forced into something that you don't like.

The first thing you want to bother about is actually practicing a controlled aggression on lower balls: you need to be able to be offensive more easily and more safely with lower balls that are within the court. Secondly, you might like to be strategic in your ball placement: it's not always a necessity to hit a perfect shot that is excessively powerful to win the point. Sometimes, just a softer, well placed ball at an angle would throw your opponent off the court.

Finally, once you're good with low balls, you need to understand how to make it difficult for your opponent to keep the balls low. It's really hard to hit good slices when moving or on pretty high balls and it's also harder to do it on the forehand side (typically). The easiest way to manage to bring the whole rally higher is to length your court by hitting cross-court and to rely on spin to bring the ball higher off the bounce... And since it's a pusher, you can afford to hit a softer shot to his forehand: even if it floats a bit, that it has way too much spin for its pace and that it lands short, chances are, a guy who spends the match pushing won't kill too many high balls. You risk to finally get the ball you want to play your game.

Amateurs who have troubles with pushers typically lack this ability to use a controlled aggression. Either out poor strategic choices or a lack of practice regarding in-court tennis. Regardless, you need this controlled aggression to beat pushers without beating yourself and this accurate and nuance type of response is found in experienced and advanced players.

Use pushers as a way to improve and re-write yourself into a division 2 or division 1 player instead of just complaining about it and not solving the problem. Accommodation is one way to evolve intellectually: tackle the challenge when you are lucky enough to face one.
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